The Mono Vampire Basketball Club are facing their toughest challenge yet as they fight for survival and hope to extend the ASEAN Basketball League Finals to a fifth and deciding game.
After they stole homecourt advantage with a dramatic Game 2 victory last Wednesday, the tables have turned and they now find themselves backed against a wall. Despite their best efforts in the Game 3 last Saturday, they were overwhelmed by the MVP performance of Ray Parks and the inspired play of Justin Brownlee, losing 99-93.
If the Thailand squad loses in Game 4 on Monday, they will kiss their season goodbye and bow to the newly crowned kings of the ABL.
Mono had all the chances in the world to take Game 3 in front of their home crowd. Brownlee, Parks, as well as Renaldo Balkman were all contributing for the Philippines, but Mono had their big guns blazing as well. Sam Deguara was his usual giant self and posted another double-double although he was not as dominant in Game 2. Jason Brickman and Paul Zamar were just as instrumental in Mono’s drive to take the series lead.
Michael Singletary led his team with 29 points and provided clutch baskets for his squad. Unfortunately, every time Singletary and Mono were gaining speed, particularly in the fourth quarter, Parks was there to shut the door.
“Parks had a tremendous game. He hit key baskets,” lamented head coach Douglas Marty. “Every time it looked the momentum was gonna go to us, we needed Parks to miss those shots. He didn’t.”
“It’s a tough game. I think both teams played with a lot of heart. It just didn’t go our way,” Singletary assessed.
The stakes have never been higher for Mono Vampire this season.
But as you would expect from a team that finished with a 14-6 regular season record and own the league’s number one offense, they won’t go down without a fight.
“We know the challenge is big, but we like that,” head coach Douglas Marty said without a shred of doubt. “We’re really happy to be here and have a chance in the Finals.”
Mono’s road to the Finals hasn’t been as easy. They knocked off last year’s finalists in the Singapore Slingers then had the daunting task of facing the number one ranked team in Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club. The China team were the hottest team in the league heading into the postseason and boasted World Import MVP Anthony Tucker, Heritage Import MVP Mikh McKinney, and Coach of the Year Charles Dube-Brais. It was, without a doubt, a tough mountain to climb.
And yet, Mono did not shy away from that challenge. They handed Chong Son its first home loss of the season and eventually swept the series.
“I believe in our team. We’ve been resilient all season. We’re here for a reason. We belong here. I still believe we can win the championship,” Mary passionately said.
Against Alab in these Finals, all their defeats could have gone either way. Mono has proven that it is more than capable of coming out on top.
“Like coach said, were a resilient team. We feel there’s no deficit we can’t come back from,” Singletary proclaimed, as he tries to once again lead Mono in their upcoming elimination game.
Even though they need two more wins to win the championship, Mono is only looking to get the Game 4 victory first and foremost.
“Game 5 doesn’t exist. There’s no reason to think about two games,” Marty cautioned. “We’d love to get a ticket back to the Philippines. It comes down to Monday, if we’re gonna earn it.”
The Mono Vampire Basketball Club are on the verge of losing the ABL title to San Miguel Alab Pilipinas. They remain however, undeterred and confident, just as they have done throughout the season.